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Retire in Dumaguete City Guide

If Dumaguete City is on your retirement radar, our detailed Retire in Dumaguete City Guide is your go-to resource. Delve into the crucial aspects of life here, including living costs, climate, housing options, healthcare services, and residency procedures. We also explore the city's social dynamics, volunteering scenes, transportation, and how walkable its neighborhoods are.

Dumaguete City, fondly known as the “City of Gentle People,” is a popular retirement destination for international retirees. The city’s laid-back lifestyle, warm climate, and affordable cost of living make it an attractive option for those looking to enjoy their golden years in a tropical paradise. However, like any other place, retiring in Dumaguete City comes with its own set of challenges, including adjusting to a new culture, language, and healthcare system.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Dumaguete City is significantly lower compared to many Western countries. International retirees can live comfortably on a budget of around $1,000 to $1,500 per month. This includes rent for a decent apartment, groceries, dining out, utilities, and healthcare. The affordability of the city is one of the main reasons why it’s a favorite among retirees.


Dumaguete City enjoys a tropical climate, with warm temperatures throughout the year. The city experiences two seasons: the dry season from November to April and the wet season from May to October. Despite the occasional tropical storm, the weather is generally pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities.


Healthcare in Dumaguete City is of a good standard, with several hospitals and clinics offering a range of medical services. The Silliman University Medical Center is a well-equipped hospital known for its quality healthcare services. However, it’s advisable for retirees to have comprehensive health insurance to cover any potential medical expenses.

Public Healthcare System

While the Philippines has a public healthcare system, known as PhilHealth, it’s not typically used by international retirees. Instead, most retirees opt for private health insurance, which offers more comprehensive coverage and access to private hospitals and clinics.

Residency Options for Retirees

The Philippines offers a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) for international retirees, which comes with several benefits, including exemption from customs duties and taxes for the importation of personal goods, and the ability to travel in and out of the country without visa re-entry requirements.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Dumaguete City offers a variety of recreational activities for retirees. The city’s Rizal Boulevard is a popular spot for morning and evening walks. The Quezon Park and Freedom Park are great places for relaxation and leisure. For those who enjoy diving, the nearby Apo Island is a must-visit.


The city is home to a variety of restaurants offering both local and international cuisine. Popular choices include Lab-as Seafood Restaurant, Sans Rival Bistro, and Lantaw Restaurant, all known for their delicious food and excellent service.

Learning the Language

While English is widely spoken in Dumaguete City, learning the local language, Cebuano, can enhance the retirement experience. The Negros Oriental State University offers language courses for those interested in learning Cebuano.

Local Culture

The locals in Dumaguete City are known for their friendliness and hospitality. The city’s vibrant culture, rich history, and numerous festivals make it an exciting place to live.

Meeting People and Volunteering

Meeting new people in Dumaguete City is easy, thanks to its welcoming community. There are several clubs and organizations where retirees can meet like-minded individuals. Volunteering is also popular among retirees, with opportunities available at local schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations.

Housing Options

Retirees in Dumaguete City typically live in apartments, condos, or houses. Many choose to live in the city center for its convenience, while others prefer the quieter outskirts. Regardless of the location, most residences offer modern amenities and are reasonably priced.


Getting around Dumaguete City is easy, thanks to its efficient public transportation system. Tricycles, jeepneys, and taxis are readily available. The city is also walkable, and many retirees choose to get around on foot or by bicycle. Owning a car is not necessary, but it can be convenient for those who frequently travel outside the city.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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